Lucid Motors officially unveils 1,000-hp electric sedan

The Silicon Valley-based Lucid Motors, formerly Atieva, revealed what appears to be the production version of its electric sedan today, and our suspicions have been confirmed. The standard battery pack will have 100 kwh of power and offer more than 300 miles of range. An optional pack will come later with 130 kwh and 400 miles of range.

Lucid says the sedan, called Air, is really three cars in one. It’s a sports car with performance matched by few internal combustion engine cars today, a spacious luxury car, and an urban commuter with connected technologies, autonomous driving features, and the range to get you where you need to go.

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The Air will boast 1,000 horsepower, and that will make it capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds. Lucid says its powertrain technology is proven, claiming to have 20 million miles of battery pack and powertrain data accrued.

The Lucid team is made up of 300 people, including former Mazda designer Derek Jenkins, chief engineer of the Tesla Model S Peter Rawlinson, and an aerodynamicist from the Red Bull Racing Formula One team.

Jenkin’s design is unique from cars with internal combustion engines because there is no need to make room for an engine, transmission, and driveshaft. The car has a short hood that covers a front trunk, a long greenhouse, and simple sides inspired by luxury aircraft. Jenkins says the aluminum pillars will be offered in a variety of finishes.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the car is the face, with its eye-slit headlights. The company calls them Lucid Vision and says they employ micro lens array technology. Inspired by the eyes of a fly, each light has 4,870 lenses, each of which can be aimed to create a clear filed of vision. The lights are just 19 mm tall, and Lucid claims this technology uses a third of the power of a conventional LED system. 

Below that is the Lucid Vortex cooling system, which brings in air and causes it to rotate while minimizing drag loss.

Lucid says the car is prepared for autonomous driving and is outfitted with two long- and four short-range radar sensors, two long- and two-short range lidar units, three front cameras, a driver-monitoring camera, and five active surround-view cameras. Many of these sensors and cameras are found up front. At the back there are LED taillights and several more autonomous sensors.

Inside, Lucid claims the car offers revolutionary interior space, though we have seen other electric cars with similar packaging. The car has motors front and rear and a flat battery below the floor.

It offers seating for four or five, with two rear buckets or a rear bench. Lucid boasts that the rear buckets offer an airline business class rear seat experience. Rear seat entertainment will be offered.

Up front, the car features three screens up top, and another lower-set 12.4-inch center screen. The car will come with active noise cancellation and a 29-speaker audio system.

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The materials feature mostly natural finishes, and the colors are inspired by locations around California, including Mojave (dark), Santa Monica (foggy), Santa Cruz (saturated colors), and Lake Tahoe. Also on offer will be a phone app, voice commands, and a glass canopy roof.

The suspension is a double wishbone setup up front. It is integrated with the motor and even the HVAC system. At the rear is another multilink suspension with air springs and active dampers. It’s integrated with the rear motor and power inverter.

Obviously, the Lucid Air is a shot across the bow at Tesla, and it seems like a very viable product. Lucid has not given a timeframe for the car’s release or anticipated pricing. However, Lucid is taking deposits right now.

We’ll be sure to follow the progress of this electric luxury sedan as it nears production.


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